A teacher in Kansas has been fired after surveillance video allegedly showed her kicking a five-year-old girl in the back for hiding behind a library bookcase.
Crystal Smith, who was a teacher at Bluejacket-Flint Elementary School in Shawnee, Kansas, was allegedly caught on video mistreating the small child during class on February 21, the Daily Mail reported.
The library video shows the little girl sliding inside a bookshelf and playing with some books. Then a teacher is seen walking around the bookcase, and, seeing the girl, roughly grabbing her by the arm and yanking her out of the self. A few seconds later, the teacher is seen kicking the girl in the back:
According to reports, the student told another teacher that she was kicked, but that teacher did not report the abuse.
The child later told her parents of being hit, and the girl’s mother claimed she saw red marks on the girl’s arm.
Upon confrontation, the teacher allegedly said the girl might have injured herself by climbing inside the bookshelf and that it was the girl who was doing the kicking.
However, when the surveillance video was reviewed, the recording showed a different scene.
“When I saw the video it was heartbreaking, because everything she said, she sat at the same table as me and just lied about everything … she lied to me. She lied to everyone else. She was almost really convincing,” the mother told KCTV News 5.
“‘I can’t really even put it into words. I hurt for my child, and I was just angry that someone could do that,” the mother added.
The Shawnee Mission School District released a statement assuring parents that it takes its responsibility seriously.
“The Shawnee Mission School District was deeply distressed by the actions shown in the video. We take our responsibility to keep our children safe extremely seriously, and as parents and educators, we are heartbroken whenever a child is not treated with love and respect,” the district statement said, adding, “As soon as we discovered what happened, we acted to remove the teacher from contact with students, and proceeded immediately to terminate that teacher.”
The Johnson County District Attorney’s Office also reported that it is reviewing the case to determine if charges will be pressed against the teacher or school district.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.